It was a happy celebration of the earth Saturday afternoon outside town hall in Qualicum Beach, where a theme about protecting the earth for the children seemed to surface.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek told of the Voices of Nature concert he attended at the Civic Centre Thursday night, where 300 elementary school students sang songs about nature.
“They not only sang to us they also gave us a message,” he said, reciting some of the lines: “Do you think of what I’ll be doing after you have left this earth?, Picking up the pieces you got to first.”
Westbroek said the children are counting on adults not to ruin this planet for them.
The event was organized by the local Wilderness Committee and facilitated by member Annette Tanner. Community groups set up booths around the town square and Tanner called up a representatives from each to address the crowd. Community groups included Kairos, Communities to Protect Our Coast, Friends of French Creek, Arrowmsmith Naturalists and more. Bardo the Owl was also in attendance, sitting on Ross Peterson’s arm, with the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association.
Ronda Murdock with the Wilderness Committee echoed the importance of leaving the environment in good shape for the children with some quotes from the late chief Seattle.
“We did not inherit our earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children,” she said.
Young Portia Miller always attends Earth Day, and her birthday happens to fall on the national day, April 22. On past Earth Days Miller has organized a clean up at Hamilton Marsh and also cut off her hair to raise money to protect DL10 in Qualicum Beach, a rare Coastal Douglas-fir floodplain. This year she asked that everyone donate a dollar to try and save those lands.
Faye Smith of the Mid Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES) said recently regulations concerning fish protection in the province have been practically expunged. MVIHES is preparing a habitat status report for the Englishman River and with that they will look for indicators of healthy watersheds and involve volunteers in monitoring those areas. She said she encourages people to get involved with this project or with protecting their own watershed. And she also brought up the children.
“The kids are counting on us but we’ve got to leave them something,” she said.
NDP Candidate Barry Avis was the only local political candidate at the event, Tanner said the others had cited other events they were attending that day. Avis said he’s passionate about the environment but lately it seems people have been having to work harder to get their points out about what’s important. He voiced his concern with fish farms located in migration routes.
Children ran around the grassy areas in Glassford Square during the event, stopping to catch glimpse’s of the large Earth Day Cake and patiently waiting for the speeches to finish so they could enjoy some.
Town Crier Len Mustard led a Happy Earth Day Song during the event which both children and parents joined in on.
Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22, with over one billion people in over 170 countries taking in part in some event or project. More than six million Canadians participate in Earth Day and nearly every school in the country takes part in some Earth Day activity, according to the Earth Day Canada website.